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Eurobites: EU Officials Raid Telenor & Tele2 Over Competition Concerns in Sweden

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Q1 revenues slip at KPN; Virgin Media adds channels for expats; Orange agrees wage deal with unions; Netflix et al could face increased European content requirement.

  • Nordic operators Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) have both come under investigation by the European Commission relating to "concerns that Swedish mobile network operators may have engaged in anti-competitive conduct preventing entry into the consumer segment of the Swedish mobile telecommunications market." The premises of both companies were subject on Tuesday to unannounced inspections by Commission officials, accompanied by their counterparts at the Swedish Competition Authority.

  • Revenues at Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) fell by 2.4% year-on-year in the first quarter to €1.64 billion (US$1.78 billion), which the operator attributed mainly to price pressure in the wholesale voice carrier market. Operating profit, however, was up 43%, to €201 million ($219 million), driven largely by much lower amortization charges.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has added channels from Poland, France and Russia to its TV offering via its Worldbox app. Four channels from each country will target the respective sections of Britain's immigrant population. They follow the recent launch of TV channels on Virgin covering Spain and Portugal.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has reached an agreement with its labor unions that will see its workers receiving an average wage increase of 2.3%. The agreement includes measures intended to recognize the "development of employees' competencies and career paths" through the use of specific budgets.

  • The likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) could be compelled to offer a minimum of 30% of European content in their on-demand video services to EU countries, according to a report on Euractiv. This proposal is 10% up on a requirement recommended by the European Commission last year, and follows a report approved on Tuesday by the European Parliament's Culture Committee. Not surprisingly, those companies that would be affected by the proposal, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) among them, have dismissed the proposal as "counterproductive," adds the report.

  • Members of Britain's secondary judiciary body, the House of Lords, will drop demands for a statutory minimum broadband speed of 30 Mbit/s and agree instead to the government's desired 10Mbit/s "universal service obligation," according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). It is thought that the Lords have relented to help push through the government's Digital Economy Bill, of which the universal service obligation for broadband forms a part, before the General Election on June 8.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • mendyk 4/27/2017 | 10:03:38 AM
    Re: Among our chief weaponry are ... "...any programme which shows the method of suicide and self-harm may be breaking the Ofcom code and people creating those scenes run the risk of prosecution." Good thing Hamlet just asked the question without following through then.
    James_B_Crawshaw 4/26/2017 | 5:48:28 PM
    Re: Among our chief weaponry are ... I'm referring to UK TV rules about not encouraging copycat suicides. Nothing to do with local TV production. I was brought up on Starsky & Hutch and the Duke's of Hazard and look how I turned out. 
    mendyk 4/26/2017 | 5:21:59 PM
    Re: Among our chief weaponry are ... National origin laws are a bit ... silly. In the early 1970s, America's new sworn enemy to the north -- Canada -- required that 60% of all content broadcast on radio be Canadian in origin. We ended up with Rush, Triumph, and Anne Murray.
    James_B_Crawshaw 4/26/2017 | 1:31:36 PM
    Re: Among our chief weaponry are ... On a more serious note it would be nice if Netflix complied with national TV content regulations despite being able to circumvent them currently as an OTT player. 


    mendyk 4/26/2017 | 9:38:30 AM
    Among our chief weaponry are ... Nobody expects the EU Inquisition!
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